10 Fun Tongue Twisters For Preschoolers
Have you tried tongue twisters with your child? Apart from the fun and laughter, they also have many benefits for preschoolers. Here are 10 interesting tongue twisters—challenge your child for a round
By Monali Bordoloi • 7 min read
Do you know that the hugely popular tongue twister, 'Peter Piper,' was first published in the year 1813? Or that speech therapists use tongue twisters to help children with speech difficulties? Yes, apart from being loads of fun, these difficult to pronounce words serve a purpose, too.
Every language has tongue twisters. Introduce one in any conversation and it would surely ensure a laugh and lighten the mood. Like all languages, English too has many popular tongue twisters that have been around for ages. These are also recommended to those whose primary language is not English, as it helps in better diction.
However, tongue twisters are particularly interesting for preschoolers as they find the sounds of the words fascinating and challenging. So, why not dare your child to a round, whoever says them correctly in the shortest time wins the round!
What are tongue twisters?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “a word, phrase, or sentence that is difficult to articulate because of a succession of similar consonantal sounds,” is known as a tongue twister. They are similar sounding or repetitive words that follow one another. Some words may differ in certain syllables. The fun part is that most words are difficult to pronounce quickly and correctly.
Toughest tongue twisters
Do you know which is the biggest tongue curler of all? According to the Guinness Book Of World Record, “The sixth sick sheikh’s sixth sheep’s sick,” is the toughest tongue twister of the world. However, “Pad kid poured curd pulled cold,” is touted as the trickiest one in the entire English language.
Benefits of tongue twisters:
Apart from inciting laughter, these twisting words have a lot of benefits for your child. It is said that tongue twister in any language helps children improve pronunciation, fluency and diction.
According to a 2016 study titled ‘Tongue twisters as a teaching technique…in the preschool child’ by Tzakosta, Μ & Α Sfiraki, tongue twisters help in developing language skills in preschoolers, more so, if it is not their primary language.
Here are some of the benefits for preschoolers:
- Tongue twisters are great when you want to introduce different consonant sounds to your preschooler
- It helps in stretching facial muscles, which in turn helps children develop clear speech
- As these confusing words are fun, your child might try to read them too—this will help his reading skills
- They are a clever way to improve your child's pronunciation
- If your child stutters or has a lisp while speaking, try practicing tongue twisters with her —it will help her develop clearer speech
- When you are reciting tongue twisters, explain the meaning of the words and how one word can have several meanings to your child, it will help expand his vocabulary
We talked to our in-house expert, Arundhati Swamy, child and family counsellor, regarding use of tongue twister for speech improvement in children. This is what she says.
“Tongue twisters are one of the most fun ways to help children improve their pronunciation, expression and fluency of language, especially when English is not their native language. It grabs a child’s attention immediately. Fascinated by the speedy flow of words, a child instantly tries to wrap her tongue around every word, even as the tongue tumbles through the string of words. This is an exercise in articulation and diction where the tongue muscles are stretched for flexible movement.”
How to introduce tongue twisters to your preschooler
So, who should win the game—your child, who repeats the words quickly like a bullet train or you, who goes slow but pronounces each word correctly?
“Children tend to focus on how fast they can recite a tongue twister. But the key is to help them say it very slowly at first so that they understand what the sentence means. As they pick up speed with practice, the thrill of a challenge takes over and the fun begins. And then they take it a notch higher by trying to create their own tongue twisters!”
While you are spending some time with your child, how about a fun game of tongue twisters with your little learner? You can even play the game while travelling in the car.
Arundhati says, “Wondering how to diffuse a wordy encounter with your child? Try repeating one of her sentences or a few of her words as if it were a tongue twister and watch her annoyance give way to smiles. Playing around with tongue twisters is also an entertaining way to spend time with your child. It doesn’t take much time or effort and as you engage with each other for those few moments, you would have given her your full attention. Do keep your child’s age in mind so that she doesn’t feel overwhelmed by words beyond her understanding.”
Curious how tongue twisters work? Read more about it here.
Here is a curated list of 10 tongue twisters from the Internet:
1. One-one was a race horse
One-one was a race horse,
Two-two was one too,
One-one won one race,
Two-two won one too.
2. Peter Piper
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked,
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where’s the peck of pickled peppers that Peter Piper picked?
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck,
if the woodchuck could chuck wood?
He would chuck, he would, as much as he could,
And chuck as much wood as a woodchuck would,
If a woodchuck could chuck wood.
4. She Sells Sea shells
She sells sea shells by the seashore,
And the shells she sells by the seashore are sea shells for sure.
5. I Scream for Icecream
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!
6. Ned Nott and Sam Shott
Ned Nott was shot and Sam Shott was not,
So it is better to be Shott than Nott,
Some say Nott was not shot,
But Shott says he shot Nott,
Either the shot Shott shot at Nott was not shot,
Or Nott was shot,
If the shot Shott shot shot Nott, Nott was shot,
But if the shot Shott shot shot Shott,
Then Shott was shot, not Nott,
However, the shot Shott shot shot not Shott, but Nott.
7. Betty bought some butter
Betty Botter bought a bit of butter,
But the butter was bitter,
Betty bought some better butter to make the bitter butter better
So it was better Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter.
8. Three cheese trees
Through three cheese trees, three free fleas flew,
While these fleas flew, a freezy breeze blew,
Freezy breeze made these three trees freeze,
Freezy trees made these trees’ cheese freeze,
That’s what made these three free fleas sneeze.
9. Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear,
Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair,
FuzzyWuzzy wasn’t very fuzzy… was he?
10. I wish to wish
I wish to wish the wish you wish to wish,
but if you wish the wish the witch wishes,
I won’t wish the wish you wish to wish.
Don’t let the fun end. Challenge your child for a round of tongue twisters or make it a weekly dinner table tradition. Giggles and happy times guaranteed. Happy Parenting!
About the author:
Written by Monali Bordoloi on 17 December, 2020.
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